Spousal communication on family planning and perceived social support for contraceptive practices in a sample of Malaysian women

Fatemeh Najafi -Sharjabad, Hejar Abdul Rahman, Muhamad Hanafiah, Sharifah Zainiyah Syed Yahya



Background: In Malaysia, contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) during past three decades has been steady, with only 34% of women practicing modern contraception. The aim of this study was to determine the factors associated with modern contraceptive practices with a focus on spousal communication and perceived social support among married women working in the university.

Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out using self-administered structured questionnaire. The association between variables were assessed using Chi-square test, independent sample t-test, and logistic regression.

Results: Overall, 36.8% of women used modern contraceptive methods. Signifi cant association was found between contraceptive practice and ethnicity (P = 0.003), number of pregnancies (P < 0.001), having child (P = 0.003), number of children (P < 0.001), positive history of mistimed pregnancy (P = 0.006), and experience of unwanted pregnancy (P = 0.003). The fi nal model showed Malay women were 92% less likely to use modern contraception as compared to non-Malay women. Women who discussed about family planning with their spouses were more likely to practice modern contraception than the women who did not [odds ratio (OR): 2.2, Confi dence Interval (CI): 1.3–3.7]. Those women with moderate (OR: 4.9, CI: 1.6–10.8) and strong (OR: 14, CI: 4.5–26.4) perception of social support for contraceptive usage were more likely to use modern contraception than the women with poor perception of social support.

Conclusion: Spousal communication regarding family planning would be an effective way to motivate men for supporting and using contraceptives. Family planning education initiatives should target both men and women, particularly high-risk cases, for promoting healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies. Ethnic disparities need to be considered in planning reproductive health programs.

Key words: Contraceptive practices, family planning, social support, spousal communication

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